A Call for the Ongoing of the Gospel
The mission’s magazine that was used to stir Judson
Pastors Samuel Stillman of Boston’s First Baptist Church and Thomas Baldwin of Boston’s Second Baptist Church were the prime movers behind the establishing of the mission, and the two churches issued a call to the other Baptist churches in the state to unite for the purpose of the ongoing of the gospel. The appeal was dated April 29, 1802, and the meeting was held in the First Baptist Church. “The object of this Society shall be to furnish occasional preaching, and to promote the knowledge of evangelistic truth in the new settlements within these United States; or further if circumstance should render it proper.” “At once they sent out their first missionaries: John Tripp, Isaac Case and Joseph Cornell. . . . The three were to find their own horses, but they were to have a weekly salary of five dollars plus expenses. They were to keep clear of politics, to keep an exact journal, and primarily to evangelize and encourage those people so sadly deprived, by distance and isolation, of church ministries.
In 1803 the society established The Massachusetts Missionary Magazine. It was the September of 1809 issue of this magazine that Adoniram Judson was stirred so as to offer himself for missionary service to India.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 174
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He preached politics from the pulpit
1807 – Samuel Stillman, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston during the Revolutionary War died on this day at seventy years of age. He was converted to Christ and baptized under the ministry of Oliver Hart when his parents moved to S.C. He later founded a Baptist Education Society in Charleston. Always weak in health he moved back to N.J. to improve his physical condition. He was called as the assistant pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Boston. After one year, he became the pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of that city on Jan. 9, 1765 where he stayed until his death. The Baptists, with only two or three exceptions stood solidly behind the Revolution. Stillman was one of the strongest proponents. His heart blazed for liberty. He despised the Stamp Act and preached against it from his pulpit. He was outraged over the inflicted Baptists of Ashfield, Mass., and authored a petition to the general court against it. The issue had to do with a general assessment for the support of the state church (Congregational). He was a powerful preacher who drew crowds from great distances including dignitaries such as, Washington, Adams, John Hancock, and Gen. Knox. He lifted high the cross, preached sin black, and hell hot and saw great revivals. His flock was scattered during the war but he returned, gathered them together again, and First Baptist was the only church in Boston that stayed open for the duration. The forty-two years he spent in Boston covered the great debates of the Revolution, the war itself, the birth of the nation, the Federal Constitution, and the presidencies of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. Samuel Stillman was a remarkable man for remarkable times. But history shows that God always has His man for the times.
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Author of Soul Liberty in CT
1772 – Stephen Smith Nelson was born to Thomas and Ann Nelson of Middleboro, Mass. His conversion to Christ was at age fourteen and he was baptized by William Nelson, a near relative, and became a member of the Baptist church in his home town, whose pastor was the celebrated Isaac Backus, the great advocate of religious liberty. Stephen graduated from Brown U. in 1794, and continued his studies under Dr. Samuel Stillman, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston. At 24 he was licensed to preach, and after filling the pulpit at Hartford Conn., he was ordained in 1798. The church met in several places including the old courthouse, and though it was crude in appearance, and they had rough furniture, they experience the remarkable presence of God, and more than one hundred converts were baptized into the church. Nelson took an active part in preparing “The Baptist Petition,” a remonstrance addressed to the Conn. Legislature, supporting absolute soul liberty, which was accomplished in 1818, with the disestablishing of the state church. He was also one of those appointed by the Danbury Baptist Association to write a congratulatory letter to Thomas Jefferson which was answered with the famous “Wall of Separation” quote which we still here about today. Nelson ended his life in Amherst, Mass., preaching to feeble and destitute churches. He always enjoyed a fruitful ministry wherever he preached. He died at 82 years of age in 1853. [Wm. B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit (New York: Robert Carter and Bros., 1865), 6:366. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 545-46.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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He was known as the “Patriot Pastor”
Samuel Stillman, known as the “Patriot Pastor” was born in Philadelphia on Feb, 27, 1737. At age eleven his family moved to Charleston, S.C. where he came under the ministry of Rev. Oliver Hart. He had been saved as a youth, but it was here that he was immersed, and felt the call to preach and entered into training under his pastor. Soon after his ordination he took charge of a church on James’ Island. He received an A.M. degree from both the College of Philadelphia and Harvard. He pastored the Baptist church at Bordentown, N.J. and then became the Asst. Pastor of the 2nd Baptist Church of Boston. From there the First Baptist Church of Boston called him to be their pastor on Jan. 9, 1765, where he spent the remainder of his life. Boston became the hot-bed of revolutionary activities and Pastor Stillman was right in the middle of it all. The historian, Dr. Magoon, called him “that distinguished patriot…the universally admired pastor of the First Baptist Church. He was small of stature, but great of soul…In the presence of armed foes, he preached with a power that commanded respect.” Men like John Adams, Gov. John Hancock, and Gen. Henry Knox attended his services regularly. The British desecrated his church sanctuary when they occupied Boston and mocked him in charcoal drawings…” His last words were, “God’s government is infinitely perfect.” He then entered into the Lord’s presence on March 12, 1807.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 116 – 118.